Aoun determined to go it alone in Lebanon elections

Leading Christian opposition figure in Lebanon vowed to head his own election list.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  May 31, 2005

Lebanon’s leading Christian opposition figure last week vowed to head his own election list after failing to agree on a broad opposition alliance. Michel Aoun said talks had broken down with other opposition leaders, opening the first major split in Lebanon’s anti-Syrian camp. Aoun recently returned from 14 years in exile. Polling starts on 29 May. “We have not reached an agreement so we are heading for a confrontation,” ex-prime minister and army leader Aoun said. “The Lebanese people will be the judge and with this the people will be able to exercise their rights in full,” he added. The multi-phase election is the first since the killing of former prime minister Rafik Hariri — who joined the anti-Syrian camp shortly before his death — and the subsequent pull-out of thousands of Syrian troops under massive internal and international pressure. Aoun has said his candidates will compete against other Maronite Christians, Druze and Muslim opponents in the Mount Lebanon constituency. He and his supporters held marathon talks into the early hours last Tuesday morning with representatives of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Hariri’s son and political heir Saad. Until now members of the three communities have campaigned together as a united opposition united in anger at Hariri’s assassination in February. Polling over four consecutive Sundays will choose the 128 members of the parliament, with seats allocated to equal numbers of Christians and Muslims.

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